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Fakespeare (tour – Colchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The title really says it all – Fakespeare: The Tragickal Saveings of King Nigel. Russell Kane as a real-life Essex boy may have a much-vaunted chip on his metaphorical shoulders but he knows how to turn a mean iambic pentameter. You have had not just to have imbibed gallons of The Bard to turn out satire as complex as this (all the while making it sound perfectly natural); it has had to become part of you.

Out anti-hero is an investment banker, from Essex of course. He’s suffering from bonus deprivation (down to his last million, poor man), a wife who wants her dues and a girl-friend who tries to help in her sweet sub-Chelmsford fashion but can’t really come up with any solution which will enable him to clamber back to his former mired environment. The end is bound to be a mucky one.

Kane and Sadie Hasler as Donna from Bullericay whirl through it all at breakneck speed and with a well-balanced sense of theatrical timing for the monologues. The audience is basically in the situation of the groundlings at an Elizabethan or Jacobean performance. You don’t catch everything that’s said, or some of the more recondite references, but you get more than enough to follow the plot and to laugh out loud.

Personally I could have done without Kane’s initial warm-up act, though most of the Colchester Arts Centre audience loved it. There’s an old proverb which states that “good wine needs no bush”. Fakespeare just by itself is a more than adequate vintage as its success on last year’s Edinburgh Fringe and this spring’s tour (sold-out notices for many venues) demonstrates. King Nigel goes down well without need of any further draughts.

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